In what could be the most significant development in global commercial aviation since the prototype of the first Airbus airliner (the A300) made its maiden flight in late 1972, the Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China's (Comac's) C919 single-aisle airliner made its first flight, from Shanghai Pudong International Airport, at 14.00 local time on Friday. So far, Comac has received orders for 570 of the new airliners from 23 customers, majority from Chinese airlines and leasing companies.
China's home-grown C919 passenger jet took to the skies in Shanghai for its long-delayed maiden test flight yesterday in a major step for Beijing as it looks to boost its profile in the global aviation market. Before the flight, the C919, whose enhanced version has a range of 5,555 kilometers, passed a series of strict tests after rolling off the assembly line in November 2015.
A total of 570 orders have been place to date, from 23 customers, largely in China.
Getting European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) certification would be a huge win for the program as it carries different weight comparing with China's certification recognition.
China's first domestically-built large passenger jet, touted to be a competitor to Boeing 737 and Airbus 320, is all set to make its maiden flight on May 5, it was announced today.
The official Xinhua News Agency said China had become "one of the world's top makers of jumbo aircraft", behind the US, Europe and Russian Federation, while the event was live broadcast on state-owned channel CGTN.
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"This is just the test flight", he said.
The government says the ability to build and fly a modern passenger plane would be the "pearl" and "flower" of modern manufacturing, a centerpiece of the government's "Made in China 2025" industrial plan that also includes ambitions to develop world-class robotics, advanced information technology, medicines and hi-tech transport industries.
The statistic is a good reminder that developing an aviation industry takes many decades.
The jet by state-owned firm Comac has been planned since 2008 but the flight was repeatedly pushed back.
The "C" in the aircraft's name stands for both China and COMAC, while 9 symbolizes "forever" in Chinese culture, and 19 represents the 190 seats at maximum capacity.
Ballantyne added that "it is very unlikely that it will be able to compete in terms of technology and economics with the new-generation aircraft" produced by of Boeing and Airbus.
China is a massive battleground for European consortium Airbus and USA aerospace giant Boeing, with the country's travel market expected to surpass the United States by 2024, according to the International Air Transport Association.